Set in the heart of Kirkby, off Mill Lane, Mill Dam Park is Kirkby's main public park serving the needs of the local community as well as visitors from further afield. It has a history dating back as far as 1254, when Kirkby Mill, which once stood on the site, is referenced in the death of Sir Ralph de Beetham. In 1323, Henry de Bootle of Melling appears to have had trouble with flooding. His lands suffered as a result of the erection of a 'mill dam' in Kirkby. At a court hearing the dam was ordered to be taken down.
In 1665, when Thomas Gerard sold his lands in Kirkby they included a mill. The mill continued its existence down the centuries. It is clearly marked on the Manorial Map of Kirkby, dated 1769. A mill and mill pond are marked to the north of the present Mill Lane (now Mill Dam Park). The 1891 map shows Kirkby Mill. It appears to have created a mill pond of 1.337 acres. The outlet to the pond discharged southwards via Mill Brook, passing the church of St. Chad, eventually to drain into the River Alt
Kirkby Mill, demolished in the 1950s, was used to grind corn and wheat and saw timber from local woods. By the 1950s, the lake was dried up and had become overgrown. It was restored to its former glory by the Council in 1968 and became a popular resort for boating and swimming for both local people and day trippers from Liverpool. At one time there was also a waterfall.
Today, Mill Dam Lake is a popular angling facility, having benefited in 2011 from a major restoration project that has improved footpaths, bridges and angling infrastructure around the Lake. Mill Dam Park is also one of only three Play Pathfinder adventure playgrounds (installed in 2010) which offer a more extensive range of play facilities for all children of all ages and abilities.
The Park also offers scenic walking routes through wildflower, wetland and woodland habitats within the Park. It is also the ideal starting point for exploring further afield, with links south into Millbrook Park Millennium Green and St. Chad's Gardens, and north towards Charlotte's Pagsy and Saxon Green Public Open Space. The Environment Centre located on the Park, next to the Car Park, provides information on opportunities for explore the Park and get involved in activities.